Pittsburgh Convention Center


Meet and greet and green

The largest “green” building in the world is actually shiny, silver, and white. And it’s in Pittsburgh.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is defined by its roof, which sweeps down in a graceful arc, replicating the bridges that cross the city’s three rivers. The center’s signature suspension-style roof is one of the largest cable-stayed roofs in the world, suspended by 15 cable lines in the roof, each line consisting of 169 strands of steel that are each five-eighths-inch thick.

Those strands are connected to steel trusses anchored to caissons 70 feet deep.

The shape and sweep of the roof is far more than a remarkable feat of engineering. It is designed to promote cross-ventilation through the exhibit space and reduce air conditioning costs. The roof also functions as a giant rain (and snow) collector, feeding a water recycling effort that reduces potable water consumption by 60 percent. Large glass walls throughout the structure allow for 75 percent of the building’s 313,000 square feet of exhibit space to be illuminated naturally.

This innovative approach to design, engineering and construction set the standard for commercial sustainability. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center was the first convention center to be awarded the Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.